Google provides evidence at the Public Accounts Committee
Google executives were called to give evidence to the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, following public outcry at the revelation that the company paid just £130 million to HM Revenue and Customs over the last 10 years. At one point, the Google president of Europe, Middle East and Africa appeared unable to provide details of his salary, illustrating the disconnect in values and expectations between the company's leadership and the people who use its services. Caroline Flint reflected this in her question to the panel:
The public tuning into this will be asking themselves, how can a massive company like Google, with all the expertise that it hires, how can HMRC not, in real time, tackle the problems of how you pay your tax?
During the previous week's evidence session, as part of the Committee's Inquiry into Contracted out health and disability assessments, the Chair Meg Hillier referred to a letter I had written to the head of Atos, David Haley. I had recently met Mr Haley in my capacity as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Groups for Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson's.
You’ve said all that. We’ll hold you to it. My colleague Madeleine Moon, the MP for Bridgend, who is heavily involved with the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Parkinson’s UK, attended a meeting with you, Mr Haley. She has written to you since, but as you are here I will ask you this question. Her letter says, “It would be helpful to have clarification as to the qualification of the health professionals employed by Atos.” I will ask the other two as well, as you are here. “In the meeting, David”—that is David Haley—“said that Atos ‘do not employ doctors’, which surprised us. If that is the case, who are the health professionals that Atos employ, and what experience is necessary to become an Atos health professional?” We’ve heard a lot about your training. Leslie Wolfe, you talked about that at great length. This is to Mr Haley first, and then we will take Capita and MAXIMUS. Do you employ any doctors? And what about all these specialist health conditions? Can you really train people up to deal with them in a generic way?
Mr Hayley replied:
We do not employ doctors to work on the PIP contract; we employ nurses, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists and a range of health professionals, all of whom have a minimum of two years’ qualification in their field. I talked about the condition insight reports. The job of the assessor is to understand how the individual presents and their functional capability. An understanding of the impact of that is important...